Lessons in faith

Combining the depth of emotion and grace of Kathak,danseuse Prerana Deshpande and her Nrityadham troupe will light up the stage at the Mharo Pranam programme...

Written by Nupur Chaudhuri | Published: August 19, 2010 12:02:41 am

Kathak danseuse Prerana Deshpande,who will perform at the Mharo Pranam event,hopes that youngsters will start working on more solo performances

Combining the depth of emotion and grace of Kathak,danseuse Prerana Deshpande and her Nrityadham troupe will light up the stage at the Mharo Pranam programme,organised by the Manhar Sangeet Sabha. The performance will depict the life of Meerabai,and her story will come alive with narrations,songs and Kathak performances. “It has been conceptualised by renowned vocalist Pandit Hemant Pendse. “He wanted to do this programme before Gokul Ashtami,” says Deshpande.

The programme will bring acclaimed artistes together. “It won’t just be a song and dance show. The script is by Dr Neha Wagh. One bhajan will be sung by Pandit Shounak Abhisheki,and other artistes like Vibhavari Apte-Joshi,Madhura Datar,Sayali Joshi and Mrudula Tambe will also be a part of it,” she says. Deshpande has choreographed the songs and,apart from the group dances,she herself will perform solo. “When Hemant Pendse asked me to perform,I immediately agreed as the script was so good. Plus,I thought that the madhura bhakti of Meerabai would be quite a challenge for me,as I’ve always done only pure Kathak – taal presentations,thumris and so on. This would be the first time when I would have to focus more on the theme,” she reveals. Since Meerabai’s bhajans will be played,Deshpande has concentrated wholely on bhakti raas. “Some bhajans like Badra Re and Jhula have the folk spirit,so I had to choreograph accordingly,” she adds.

The programme will feature 16 people on stage at all times. Deshpande’s relation with kathak dates back to when she was just an eight-year-old child. She trained under the late Rohini Bhate and has herself been teaching for 15 years. “I have seen kathak go through many changes. Most of the changes are positive. The style is changing and modern elements are coming in. What I don’t like though is that there are more group performances instead of solo. See,in solo,one has to master the finer nuances of the dance form,but in a group that detail vanishes and what’s important is the overall effect. Maybe that’s why solo performances are missing in the younger generation,” she feels.

If youngsters are attracted to Salsa and Latin American dances,it’s just a passing phase. In Indian classical dance,you keep going deeper and deeper. Even after all these years,I still feel like I have so much to learn,” she says.

And she hopes that this programme on Meerabai will help her students and even the audience further understand the beauty of art. “The show will reach out to those who like music,dance and even literature. It will also educate the younger generation about Meerabai and her devotion and love for Lord Krishna,” she says.

(Mharo Pranam will be held at Yeshwantrao Chavan Natyagruha,Kothrud,on August 21,5.30 pm)

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